New Core for MiST ? How?

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SHIFT838
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New Core for MiST ? How?

Postby SHIFT838 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:41 am

Not sure if this is the place for it, or who I need to even contact. Maybe somoene can point me into the right direction.

I want to get a couple of cores coded for the MiST FPGA system:

1. TI-99/4A core with RS232, Joystick, Memory, Floppy Disk Image and Hard Disk Image support
2. Geneve II Core support with Rs232, Joystick, Memory, Floppy Disk Image and Hard Disk Imagge support.

Who can help me get in contact with a developer that can do this?

Chris
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Re: New Core for MiST ? How?

Postby ericgus » Fri Aug 19, 2016 5:49 am

If you find out let me know, I'd love someone to compile the TRS80 core (note not talking COCO but the original z80 TRS80 model I) from zxgate fpga source (I believe its the same package that was used to create the ZX81 core in the MiST)

http://zxgate.cvs.sourceforge.net/viewv ... e/trs/rtl/

I know a few people who would love a Ti99 4/a core..

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Re: New Core for MiST ? How?

Postby Newsdee » Fri Aug 19, 2016 7:02 am

It's a lot of work to code a core from scratch, it doesn't just happen. You can first try to find open source code for them and update the wiki with details (there's a page with known core projects).

You can try to conpile your own cores too, the tools are free (Quarrus II) but there is a big learning curve of course. Still worth a peek to get an idea how it all works.

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Re: New Core for MiST ? How?

Postby ericgus » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:17 pm

I know someone had been working on a FPGA core for the Ti 994/a but I dont know much about it .. I do know someone made (I presume a closed source) processor? video? chip replacement for the Ti called the f18a .. but that was a pin compatible drop in replacement for an existing chip and not a full SoC for the TI 994/a.

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Re: New Core for MiST ? How?

Postby SHIFT838 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 7:39 pm

yes, you are correct. The F18A is the upgrade video for use with the TI-99/4A and supports 80 columns and we have even gotten an 80 column ANSI terminal program for it now.

I have two of the F18A devices on original 99/4a's and love them.

I know there is a huge learning curve to code a new core. maybe something I can look into. All the ROMs and all are accessible and considered Abandoned now.
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Re: New Core for MiST ? How?

Postby ericgus » Sat Aug 20, 2016 3:48 am

SHIFT838 wrote: All the ROMs and all are accessible and considered Abandoned now.


Its not just the programs in the roms .. but the actual electrical wiring/functioning of the cpu, video chips, and any other custom processor chips themselves on a hardware level.. MiST is not emulation, its hardware synthesis and thats the part Newsdee is referring to, you have to figure out, at a hardware level, how the original chips worked if they are not standard off the shelf chips like 6502s or Z80s.. The guy who made the F18A spent a great deal of time reverse engineering how that chip electrically worked so it could be drop placed into old actual hardware, thats whats required for the mist, its the exact same sorta thing, if you could get the FPGA sources from the guy who did the F18A that would be a start, then you would have to do the same level of reverse engineering on any remaining chips that someone else has not already implemented into FPGA .. once thats done, you then have to sorta "wire them up" like the original computer was .. as you can see its way more involved than just writing an emulator unfortunately.. I've started looking at the software used to create cores for the MiST but thats a long road.

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Re: New Core for MiST ? How?

Postby SHIFT838 » Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:11 pm

I have been reading what is involved and WOW! It a hell of a lot. Hats off to anyone that has managed to create a core for the MiST.

I would like to see one for the TI-99/4A and even the Myarc Geneve 9640, but I can see it's going to be a lot to do.
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Re: New Core for MiST ? How?

Postby Newsdee » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:22 am

Yes HDL development is a bit... unusual if your background is in sequential CPU (as is mine). Rightly so because you have to think about parallel processing.

If you're interested in learning I encourage you to install Quartus II (warning you need a specific version, I think its 13.1 but search this forum for the exact one), and try out the tutorials that Till Harbaum put online.

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Re: New Core for MiST ? How?

Postby timofonic » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:18 pm

Good news, but it requires a CPU core. It uses a real TMS99105 CPU.

https://github.com/Speccery/EP994A

The same author is making a CPU core!
https://hackaday.io/project/20826-tms99 ... re-in-vhdl

I just found this old news...
https://web.archive.org/web/20160720095 ... :80/g2.htm

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/204509 ... 2-phoenix/

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Re: New Core for MiST ? How?

Postby Newsdee » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:50 pm

Quoted for truth, from the AtariAge thread::
matthew180 wrote:Hobby hardware projects, and especially FPGA projects, are a solitary business. Finding people with enough spare time, money, and expertise is hard, and finding people like that with enough interest in the project to help is even harder. Also, for a project like this, the return will be so small that there is no chance of making it "worth the while" monetarily.


That said it's great to see progress. As long as it uses an Altera FPGA and SDRAM then porting shouldn't be too difficult I suppose.


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